The Family Court is failing female domestic abuse victims says Principal Family Court Judge Peter Boshier, but Women's Refuge says an alternative seems to aid the victim's attacker.
Judge Boshier said Family Court resources were stretched and more was required from the current system to ensure the safety of female domestic violence victims.
"I don't think female victims of domestic violence get the sort of support that is, in fact, necessary," Judge Boshier said in the Auckland District Law Society newsletter.
"We operate in relative isolation. The fact is that, for whatever reason, a number of female victims of domestic violence don't see the court as providing them with enough protection.
"I think we can, and should, do more before and after our hearings."
Protection orders and rehabilitation programmes for attackers would not keep a victim safe, Judge Boshier said.
"To merely send a perpetrator to a programme won't mean at all that he'll stop committing violence.
"The mere fact that victims have to come to court tells me the intervention needs to be higher than we provide at the moment."
The newsletter detailed a programme called Community Links in Courts (CLIC), a joint venture between the Family Court and Work and Income New Zealand.
It was designed to make it easier for people to seek support from Housing New Zealand, Women's Refuge, Work and Income New Zealand and mental health services.
"There's a lot we're capable of doing without increasing Family Court costs to help victims and perpetrators," Judge Boshier said.
Women's Refuge spokeswoman Kiri Hannifin said the refuge had no involvement with the CLIC model and was worried about the new service.
"Women's refuge has raised concerns about the CLIC model," she said.
"These concerns are based on what seems like a focus on the perpetrators' needs over the paramountcy of the victim and children's safety."
Victims felt the court system offered little protection, so often it was not used, she said.
"They don't call police, they don't go to the courts, they come to us.
"It is a big deal to go to the court because the power is taken out of your hands," she said.
"There is the fear of children being taken off you."